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EighthLY: The believer's conflict shall be finally crowned with success. Not that he is sure of gaining every battle, nor that his hope of ultimate victory should make him carnally secure. By no means. But sin shall not regain the dominion over him, but God will make him a conqueror : while the other is likely to be ineffectual, even as to the particular evil chiefly opposed; but should he even conquer one foe, and be slain by another, it is of little avail.

Let none dare to think of proving themselves Christians by their having the like blemishes with some true saints. I fear some have been foolish enough to attempt this. You may sin like Jonah, Job, Peter, or David ; and yet be a štranger to the good parts of their character.

Do not lightly take it for granted, that every kind of opposition or reluctance to sin, or of grief for sin, will prove you are born of God, or a truly penitent believer. . Cain and Judas felt remorse, and Saul had his relentings; yet they were no saints.

Never inquire what is the lowest measure of grace to evince that you are a child of God, nor what is the greatest sin a man may commit, and yet be saved at last : any more than you would inquire how greatly a man may be maimed; or how many limbs he may lose; or how many wounds he may receive, and yet survive : or how much poison he may take, and not be absolutely killed.

Rather, be desirous of knowing what are the best and most decisive evidences of being a member of Christ ; the strongest proofs of being an heir of glory. How we may best show we love God supremely, and that we hate all evil. How we may prove we are good soldiers of Jesus Christ. How we may get greater victories over our spiritual adversaries. How we may

show we are not of them that draw back to perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Ask not how sin may be screened, but how it may be detected. Not, how far it may be gratified, but how it may be mortified. Not, how far duty may be safely declined, but how God may be most glorified.

If you were about to sail to America, you would not get the history of the worst voyage any one had who got safe to

land, that you might rush against the rock which was nearly fatal to the ship; or get on the sand-bank whence it was got off with much difficulty; or go to the edge of the whirlpool which was near swallowing it up : but if you had such a history, you would be for shunning all these dangers. See then that you act circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.

But, if your opposition to sin be habitual and universal; your hatred of it deep and irreconcilable; if your concern to depart from all iniquity be not merely for fear of consequences, but owing to a sense of its intrinsic evil, as it is against, not merely your credit, but God's honor; if you are influenced by a heartfelt sense of God's own loveliness and supreme excellence, your obligations, your dependance, your responsibility, the equity of his requirements, the beauty of his image, all heightened by the riches of his grace, and the transcendent glory of the cross of Christ, and the design of his redemption ; if you are engaged to fight the good fight of faith, and are importunate for the supply of his Spirit; if you cannot bear to grieve Him by whom you are sealed to the day of redemption, or to have that image partially defaced, the completion of which is to constitute your future beauty and glory; if nothing will satisfy you but the scriptural heaven; and if you do not think it possible you can have heaven begun too soon, or enjoy too much of it on earth ; then rejoice in the all-sufficiency of the Saviour's grace, and the immutability and perpetuity of his love. Sin shall not have the dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace. Though without Christ you can do nothing ; yet you can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth you. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I am greatly afraid that some modern professors wish to substitute an immediate witness of the Spirit for the extensive and important work of the Spirit. They seem to deny all internal sanctification ; they neither want sin to be mortified, nor grace to be increased and strengthened. And as to the peculiar conflict described in our text, they seem entire strangers to it. They only want to keep conscience quiet, and to be easy as they are. They wish to get rid of all obligation, all duty, all trouble. They disclaim selfrighteousness, indeed, in words ; though I fear they make a righteousness of their notions, and are as proud of their light, as if they had made themselves to differ. Their religion serves to banish from their minds every kind of fear, good or bad, and that is all it does for them. The unbelief they oppose is not the rejection of the testimony of God, respecting duty, danger, sin, Christ, this world, the world to come, &c.; but all doubt of their own safety. Can this be all that the Apostle means, by walking in the Spirit ? Did he mean to say, The fruit of the Spirit is to be found in Christ, and therefore we need not be concerned for any thing of the kind to be found in us? Or what did he mean by crucifying the flesh? Did he mean that Christ suffered for sin, and therefore we may indulge it, as being confident of impunity ? No, verily; we know that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Rom. vi. 6.

CXIII.

GLORYING IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST.

GAL. vi. 14. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

The Apostle is here evidently contrasting himself and the object of his exultation with the Judaising teachers, who corrupted the gospel, and had seduced many members of the

Galatian churches ; yea, he contrasts his own taste, and the subject of his glorying, with that of all the carnal world. They gloried that they had found out a way of rendering Christianity less offensive to the Jews, by insinuating that Jesus, though truly sent of God, came not to supersede the Mosaic economy, but to extend it, by bringing over the Gentiles to circumcision, and the other rites of the ceremonial law. They gloried that they made the gospel also less offensive to mankind in general, and hence made numerous converts; because, instead of representing men as utterly lost and exposed to the curse, so as to be capable of relief only by the obedience and sufferings of the Son of God, these teachers, though they allowed that Christ profited them somewhat; that is, as a teacher, example, and perhaps as making up for their defects, encouraged their proselytes to expect righteousness, as it were by the works of the law. And they gloried in thus shunning persecution themselves, and in not exposing their converts to such enmity as Paul's. But, says Paul, “ God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Every true Christian is taught to glory in the same object, and we have no more of true Christianity than we have of this temper.

By the cross of Christ, we understand his whole humiliation, as terminated by the painful and shameful death of the cross, considered in connexion with its blessed and happy effects. Herein the Apostle gloried; and that on account of the very things to which the Jews and the world principally objected.

Those very things which to carnal hearts are objections to the doctrine of the cross, are the ground of true believers glorying in it.

First: The greatness of a crucified Saviour was an objection to the Jews; particularly his being represented as superior to Moses. They had long gloried in Moses, and could not bear that another, messenger should be sent from God as much superior to him, as a son to a faithful servant; but herein the Apostle gloried. So, many are now stumbled at the doctrine of his divinity; but herein does the believer glory.

SecondLY: The depth of his humiliation was highly offensive to many; especially his shameful death—as though Paul had gloried in the gibbet. But when we reflect how this showed the greatness of his love, and was calculated to support and maintain divine authority: we need not wonder that the Christian should glory herein.

THIRDLY: The import of his cross, as implying that they for whom he died were worthy of the curse, has ever been offensive to human pride. But the believer, though filled hereby with shame and self-abhorrence, will yet glory herein, as justifying God, which he is glad to see done, and to unite in doing it; for he would have God honored, and his authority supported, though in a way that condemns sin, and pours reproach on self-righteousness.

Fourthly : The tendency of the doctrine of the cross to holy activity, and to mortify opposite principles, is an objection to carnal minds, but endears it to the new-born soul. True it is, believers are not their own. They are bought with a price, and herein do they glory, in being their Lord's property. The love of Christ constrains them to live and act as new creatures. They are God's workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus.

Fifthly: Many are offended at the consequences of owning a crucified Saviour ; that it exposes to the world's hatred. But herein would believers rejoice, that this crucified Redeemer has power to support under all afflictions. He can defend from the rage of the world, or can bear up

under the severest trials. The false teachers gloried in shunning the cross, but Paul gloried that his Lord enabled him patiently to endure it. What power must there be in his love! Paul's attachment to Christ made the world dislike and despise him; and it made Paul despise their judgment, applause, censure, friendship, or rage. The world considered him as the follower of a crucified man; and he considered them as the murderers of the Lord of glory. They considered him as fit to be crucified himself, for his attachment to a crucified Saviour; and he considered them as deserving to be Anathema Maranatha, for their want of love to that Saviour.

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